Maximizing Equine Dental Care

Once you've chosen a skilled dental technician to assess and treat your equine partner, there are several things you can do to maximize benefit/minimize stress. Here are a few tips.

If you're traveling to a clinic or farm to receive dental care, plan to arrive early. It's not in anyone's best interest for your horse to enter the dental stall with a heightened nervous system - allow time for settling in.

For a steady eddy type horse that travels regularly, the Bach Flower Essence - Rescue Remedy, sprayed inside the trailer and wiped on the horse's muzzle before loading can be all that's needed for stress reduction. For horses that aren't well traveled and/or tend to be more sensitive, a dose of a homeopathic cell salt before loading up at home can help. For the more extroverted horse that puts his feet in motion quickly when anxious, I use Kali Phos 6X (central nervous system tension). For the more introverted horse prone to worry and tension, I use Nat Phos 6X (nervous stomach).

When there's no travel involved, essential oils can be an effective way to reduce stress and minimize sedation. The blend of Young Living oils I use is lavender, geranium and valerian diluted in a base of olive or coconut oil. Avoiding the front of the horse out of respect for the dentist, this blend can be applied about 20 minutes before dental work to the sacrum, inner thigh and tail head.

Once your horse's dental work is complete, recovery from, and clearing of, sedation drugs can be supported by a dose of the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica. I usually use the 30C potency. You can put the dry pellets directly into the mouth, (between lips and teeth or on the tongue), or dissolve the dose in water and syringe into the mouth. No need to swallow, the objective is to get the remedy in contact with mucous membranes. If you're using dry pellets, make sure they don't fall right back out of the horses mouth.

As your horse starts to become more alert - to help buffer the empty stomach, reducing the risk of ulceration or discomfort, I give 4 ounces of organic papaya puree mixed with a half cup of aloe vera juice. This blend is useful any time a horse is experiencing travel stress or significant time without forage.

Now that your horse is less groggy and has urinated, to minimize soft tissue soreness in the mouth and body, you can give a dose of the homeopathic remedy Arnica. I like to use the 200C or the 1M potency. You can place the dry pellets right in the mouth or you can dilute in water and syringe in.

And last but not least - bodywork. Same day or day after dental work is ideal timing for treatment. Those sharp edges your horse has been tilting his head just a smidgen to avoid are gone, those uneven ramps your horse was carrying his neck slightly bent to accommodate are gone, etc., etc., etc.

Hooray!!!!!

Now your horse could really benefit from some help releasing restrictions that created, or were created by, those dental imbalances. There are many types of equine bodywork available, but a well trained CranioSacral therapist will be very useful. They'll be able to work directly with the face and head as well as the rest of the body helping you and your horse get the most from their dental care.

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